CONTOVERSY QUEEN with Nomathemba Ndebele
Raising a girl scares the living shit out of me. There, I said it. It isna��t because I am not confident in my parenting abilities; it is because I remember what it is like to be a teenage girl. Believe it or not, it hasna��t been that long since I was one (was a teenage mother nursing the very girl child).
I see my girl growing up and find myself in awe of what I have created. I may be a bit biased, but I see a beautiful, smart, amazing girl. At her age she is not much concerned with appearance and acceptance, but times are changing. Sooner or later I am afraid. What am I most afraid of? That she will grow up with this false sense of what is real and what is not. That her own self worth will suffer because of the falsities she sees going on around her.
That she will think that she needs the approval of others in order to feel comfortable in her own skin. I know that as the main female presence in her life it is up to me to make damn sure that she growsA� up to be a strong, confident woman. In this day and age, this may be the most difficult task I have ever attempted to accomplish. With the internet, it is so easy for our children to have access to so many things that we never did. We never a�?meta�? people online; we met them in person and got to know them. We learnt how to decide if a person was truly honest and true by looking in their eyes and watching their body language. We learnt how to tell if someone really liked us for us and, we developed a a�?bulls**it metera�? to tell us when someone was looking for something else, something that we just werena��t ready to give. We werena��t afraid to walk away if our bulls**t meter maxed out and the alarms started sounding.
INTERNET! I may be overly cautious when it comes to the internet, but in this day and age I feel as if I have no other choice not only for my safety, but for the safety of my children as well. While the internet has this fabulous power and ability to bring people together, it holds many dangers inside it as well. At first a�?introductiona�? you cannot gauge someone just based on a name and a picture. You have absolutely no guarantee that you are actually getting the person in the picture. It is so difficult to explain to my young teenage girl how sometimes people are not always what they seem and that she must be cautious.
Then sheA� gets frustrated when I am constantly watching what she isA� doing when I allowed herA� to get on the internet. SheA� doesna��t understand that the internet does not have its own internal bulls**t meter, that is what I as a parent step in. I understand that I have a long, difficult road ahead of me. SheA� has asked me multiple times if she can set up her own Facebook page. My answer is always longer than she would like it to be.
No, I will not allow you to read stupid updates on Facebook when you have a load of unread textbooks right in front of you. And not everyone on that forum is honest.
While I try to explain to her why being responsible and honest is so important, I also feel that it is important for me to teach her why other people do NOT believe that responsibility and honestyA� is the best policy, that people will tell you what they think you want to hear in order to get what they want. It is not because I dona��t want her to trust people; Lord knows I want her to trust. I want her to trust her instinct, her a�?bulls**t metera�?.
I want her to be able to know when someone is pumping her full of crap in order to get something from her. I want her to be able to stand up for herself and say a�?No, I dona��t have to tell youa�?. I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin to be strong, and confident, and smart, comfortable enough to know that she is meant for something great and that she can be that on her own, surrounded by people that love her for her. That she is worth not only giving her best to those who truly care about her, but that she deserves and should demand the best from others.
Self worth is such a difficult thing for us women to have an appreciation of. Sometimes I wish we were more like men in that we just wouldna��t worry so much about what others think about us. That we could be comfortable in our own skin and not feel that we need approval from others, but I suppose that is what makes us different from them. I wish that we could appreciate ourselves for the magnificent creatures that we are. I wish that we could be comfortable in a crowded room of other women and not judge each other by what we look like, our hairstyles, our clothes, or even what kind of mothers we are .
I wish that we could avoid the competition and the status ladder that we all seem to be trying to climb. I wish that we could all be beautiful, amazing, supportive and equal.
Oh well my hope for my girl is that she, unlike so many young girls these days, have self-worth. That she recognises that she dona��t have to have her a*s hanging out of her shorts and boobs sticking out of her tops in order to be beautiful. That she doesna��t have to have the attention of every boy (or girl) in order to be amazing, that she can be smart, athletic, dramatic, musical, or any combination of these. That she does not have to be skinny, have perfect hair, or perfect clothes in order to be beautiful. That she doesna��t need the approval of a man or her friends in order to be considered successful.
That sometimes, being considered a�?populara�? is not always a good thing. That as long as she isA� honest and true with herself. That is what makes her beautiful. That is self worth, and sheA� is worth all of it.
To every woman raising a girl or girls, my ladies do it better and with passion. Thank you for reading. FollowA� @nomakartel on twitter